"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crying for the Absolution

Do you ever just feel like crying? Even without a good reason? Well I was having that kind of day. Most things that were probably normal just didn't seem that way. I like to blame it on being 8 months pregnant and having two girls aged two and under running around. I could even blame it on the cold that is going around to the two runny noses that just don't seem to know when to stop. I can hear my husband's  voice in my mind, saying, "Just slow down. Think, what is the worst that can happen?"  Hmm, well, maybe I don't get to vacuuming and the carpet gets even dirtier than it already is. Not so bad. I don't do laundry and we all run around naked. Getting a lot worse. I don't make any food and we all starve to death. See, I knew this was all a life and death matter! Ok, maybe I should make lunch before I go any further down that road.

The problem is, when I am crying I don't usually slow down and think, I react. If you find a woman who can be an emotional wreck, and slow down to think logically, I would nominate her for the Nobel peace prize. Or better yet, maybe the sister suffragette “badge of courage beyond the call of duty.” But being as there probably isn't one, then we will descend from our flight of fancy - down, down, to ... Yes, two more dirty diapers. When you’ve gone through two Costco packs of diapers in less than a month, God must being trying to say something.

What could it be that He is trying to tell me? “You’ve been bad”? No even in this state of mind, I don't think God is punishing me through dirty diapers. “You need to try harder”? Again, I don’t think that’s God’s hidden message to me.

Then my phone rang. Now I think that sometimes there is nothing so lovely as that ring, a chance to talk to another human being who has a vocabulary that includes more than 6 words. But my phone also has the habit of ringing right when I’m in the middle of some mess or jackpot (bad phone!) so I almost didn’t answer it this time. However, there is one thing worse than leaving a big mess to answer the phone, and that is the guilt that comes when you see the person whose phone call you ignored and you’re wondering if they guessed that you had simply ignored them. That being said, I answered it this time. A heavenly sound came across. My husband’s voice asking “Hi Honey, how is it going?"

How is it going? How is it going? Well let me tell you. I started with the smallest problem of all, that I'm hopelessly fat and will probably never lose any of it after the baby is born, but once a confession starts, it seems to all just spill out. It may be more like a volcano or perhaps old faithful, but there is it. Now I am crying all over again and have a headache to boot. But at one point in this conversation come the most cherished words in all of history, "I forgive you of all of your sins." Is that really the answer to the unswept floors and counters that need dusting? Yes! Now the truth begins to take hold of me. It isn't the thing itself that makes me crazy, it is the lack of hearing the absolution. I need to hear it every day. God sends trouble into my life, and the absolution finds me in the muck and toil. "I forgive you  of all of your sins." The absolution washes away the grime, and even diapers begin to reek of holiness. I am right where He wants me to be.

Then the secondary confirmation can continue this absolution. My conversations with my husband, friends, and neighbors affirm this forgiveness on a daily basis. It’s not only limited to Sunday morning, but He is broken for me today, here, now. Baptism (or exorcism – whichever you prefer to call it) happens over the telephone and I am once again clothed and in my right mind.

So what is God trying to say? Here is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased.


  1. What a good husband. And what a merciful, gracious God.

  2. So true! And I know how you feel and sympathize just a tad being 7 months pregnant myself!

  3. Thanks, Mary. I almost started crying just reading it because I've often, with five, been in the very same circumstance. Tom calls or I get in touch with someone and the absolution of Christ on their lips frees me, once again, to enjoy God's creation (my children) and my vocation. The condemnation of my sin is swallowed up in joy and the accuser of the bretheren is shown to be cast down again and I'm back to looking well to the ways of my house in peace.

  4. Sorry, I put "anonymous" that was Michelle Snyder who posted that last comment.